Competition-based video gaming, or esports, could be the newest form of tourism to hit Atlantic City, especially for millennials.
“We’re focused on bringing esports to places like Atlantic City to expand the tourism, to expand the millennials offerings for the city, and to bring in a whole new economy to Atlantic City to deal with millennial crowds who aren’t so gambling heavy right now. So a lot of the products that casinos put out don’t appeal to a large amount of the millennials, and expanding the offerings for the city is something that will work to benefit the local area, and the casino industry as well, when both industries mesh together,” said Anthony Gaud, president of InGaming Sports.
Gaming developers, supporters, and casino representatives attended the “Thought Leaders Summit on Esports” at Stockton University in Atlantic City to brainstorm how they could create their own esports brand that could resurrect new business, not just in casinos, but throughout the community.
“If you go to a boxing match you can’t go and box after the event. If you go to an esports match, oftentimes there are tournaments where you can enter for cash prizes. You can play, you can hang out with like-minded fans. We have professional athletes come and sign autographs. We have professional athletes stay in our hotels so the next day you might see them at breakfast. It’s really about embracing the entire community,” said Seth Schorr, a resort advisor for Ocean Resort Casino.
A new state-of-the-art data center may get the city a step closer to establishing itself as the new home of esports.
“There is a company that has come into New Jersey with internet gaming called Continent 8 Technologies. They are the utility behind internet gaming, sports wagering, esports and any technology-dependent industry. You can roll-in an esports event like a rock concert, but it’s very cost intensive and it doesn’t have a lasting benefit for economic development. What we are hoping to do, is by building the infrastructure, create that economic development opportunity here in Atlantic City for the software companies who create the games, the graphics departments to come here, and maybe even the companies themselves to locate here, and help invigorate this area with a new industry,” said Barbara DeMarco, a consultant at Continent 8 Technologies.
A data center that developers say is key when technology is part of everyday life.
“I think that technology is so much more a part of everyday life that it’s harder and harder to step away from it, so it just makes sense for the next generation of sports to also be technological,” said Dana Kawar, COO of FlipSid3 Tactics.
“The viewers, the people that bet on these sports potentially, our average age is 35. So what the casino industry can benefit from is a whole new audience of people that previously did not have a lot of incentive to go to a casino,” said Gaud.
The new data center is expected to be completed by April 2019 and is expected to be a major component on how the city is able to support the potential new home of esports.